Monday, September 01, 2008

GOP Conventioning -- Day One

As promised, Leavenworth Street's fearless correspondent, Jordan McGrain, will be giving us updates throughout the convention. Here are a few of his thoughts on Day One. Take it away Jordan:

The Nebraska delegation began the day with a breakfast hosted by big-time Nebraska political consultant Sam Fischer and his firm, Meridian Central. Sam is a heavy hitter in national GOP circles and has built a business and reputation that upstarts like me aspire to. Because of his success, one can almost forgive his rather unfortunate choices of accessorizing with a fanny pack and swearing allegiance to the Oakland Raiders. Almost.

The buffet of eggs, waffles, sausage and bacon, and assorted pastries looked delicious. And I'm told that it was. I slept in and missed the meal, having soaked up too much of the, uh, convention experience the night before. It's also a tradition in my family to sleep in and miss breakfast on Labor Day. Some people go to the lake, some barbecue with friends, but this is how we roll. Like I said, this is a long-standing family tradition, having started 1 hour ago today.

We stood around the hotel lobby for some time after breakfast waiting for our tricked-out buses to arrive. Standing around and waiting is already a recurring theme here and, apparently, an important part of conventioning.

Lunch for the delegation was hosted at View, a hip eatery in Minneapolis. The menu featured a crabcake appetizer, a watermelon, jicama, and cucumber salad, and your choice of salmon or flank steak. Compared to yesterday's Big Mac in Des Moines, this was a very welcome dining experience.

During lunch, GOP Chairman Mark Quandahl made the announcement that Governor Heineman had authorized for Nebraska National Guard troops and choppers to head south and help those areas affected by Hurricane Gustave. We also learned that Dave Heineman is the only sitting Governor to have graduated from a military academy. The message, as always - do not mess with Governor Dave Heineman.

As I made my way around the restaurant, a few folks were chatting about the announcement made by VP nominee Sarah Palin today. Her 17 year old daughter is pregnant and now engaged to her baby's daddy. Some are concerned, some are indifferent. While not an ideal story, I don't see a huge issue here. The Republicans who've gathered in this town are incredibly excited to have Palin on the ticket. Life happens, and stories like these humanize her even more.

We loaded on the bus after lunch to head to the Xcel Center, site of the actual convention business. Traffic stopped about 4 blocks from the building thanks to the rowdy gang of protesters who'd assembled downtown. A video journalist I spoke with said these yahoos were tipping over newspaper vending machines in the street to "redirect" traffic. Another thuggish pair had apparently yanked down a street sign and used it to improve the ventilation of a nearby squad car.

Needless to say, we were stuck on the bus awhile. When we finally got rolling again, our seasoned driver took us on a less than shortcut halfway around the city. I've never organized bus transportation for a large group before, but my general advice would be to find a driver who, you know, can actually drive a bus and is moderately familiar with your destination city. Our guy had neither.

To cap this odyssey, we had to disembark more than a half mile from the doors of the Xcel Center, mostly because our poor driver just flat gave up on his sad attempt to get us anywhere close. The 60 of us were left to hoof it the rest of the way, and we all found this particularly defeating when bus after bus zoomed by toward the front doors.

Not all was lost. Our half-mile walk gave us the opportunity to be harassed by an eclectic band of protesters, who had little concern about getting all up in our faces. These folks were apparently chanting, "No More War! No More War!" My guess is that they were referring not to Iraq, but to the lesser-known War on Poor Hygiene. Most of these probable Al Franken voters smelled like the business end of a rotting rhinoceros.

I now sit in the arena, not really sure what I'm waiting for. Most activities have been suspended, but The First Lady and Cindy McCain are apparently scheduled to speak. I'd ask one of my fellow bloggers, but I'm not sure most of these people even know where they are right now. Not to say political bloggers are a strange bunch, but the Vegas number for Invitations I'll Recieve to Dungeons and Dragons Related Events This Week has just gone from 9 and a half to off the board.

Thanks Jordan! We look forward to your next update. Eat well.


One Out In The Third said...

I liked the "business end of a rotting rhinocerous" line. When was the last convention that mainstream media made so many references to the presence of "anarchists?"

What a world. Or as a friend used to say..."You People!"

Anonymous said...

Sam Fischer was wearing what?

Anonymous said...

See if you can spot any people of color in the audience; and I am not talking about the wait staff.
Was their a line at the airport bathroom stall that GOP Senator Craig prefers?

Gosh that convention sure looks like fun.

ricky from omaha

ricky bobby said...

Not quite sure what your problem is with Dungeons and Dragons but good work on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Great job Jordan...can't wait to hear more!

Street Sweeper said...

I see you Mom comments here too, Jordan...

Anonymous said...

Sam who? Big time? What? I remember him just being out of diapers.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else sick and tired of Republican men referring to Sarah Palin as "feisty"? How insulting to women! When was the last time you heard someone refer to a man as feisty?

Are they going to pat her on the head before they send her out to give her speech at the convention? Sheesh.

Street Sweeper said...

FWIW, here is a Google search of "feisty Obama" and "feisty McCain".
Here's a "feisty Bush". And here's a "feisty Pelini". (I wouldn't recommend patting him on the head though...)

I hope that all makes you feel better, you feisty anonymous commenter, you.

Anonymous said...

Question: Does Governor Palin support abstinence-only programs in our schools?

Anonymous said...

Question: What was John Edwards' position on the sanctity of marriage?

Anonymous said...

Gallup says Obama's four-point bounce is about "average" for conventions. Guess "the speech" didn't end up doing much beyond the norm.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:09 -- I don't know about John Edwards, but he sure fell out of the political eye fast, huh?

Anonymous said...

One thing I find interesting as I'm reading more about Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol's, pregnancy is the religious conservatives oh-so-happy response that it shows their family's pro-life stance. Yet, when someone like Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant, this same group is quick to cry out how it is her parents "fault" or society's "fault." What's the difference here?

It's also interesting to hear members of the religious right yelling out, "It's none of our business!" "Leave her daughter out of this!" when the religious right is generally the very first group to worm their way in to other people's business.

Mini said...

I am very interested in what Scooter says about conception and pregnancy out of wedlock!!!

Scott as a Senatorial Candidate, what do you think?

asecurityguard said...

I think if Obama's daughter was the one having the kid (assuming she was the same age) there would not be the same warm and fuzzy response from the religious right. Some fringe liberal groups are playing this up, but for the most part it is being ignored. Im just curious what Focus on the Family or some other groups like that would say.

bob said...

People of Color?

So McCain supposedly slights black people by not picking a black but Obama was right to slap Hillary in the chops?

Obama didn't have to pick an old fart white guy version of his himself. He could have picked Hillary and been a shoe in for President. But Obama feared the Clintons. Fear. As in coward or safe. It was his choice.

right wing rant said...


I don't know about "people of color", but I've already spotted the person of "alternative lifestyles" on this comment page.

Congrats. You make our lives so much richer.

Anonymous said...


Obama feared the Clintons? How so?

Anonymous said...

What the hell does John Edwards cheating have to do with anything??

He is not running for anything.

Anonymous said...

I could give a rat's ass about John Edwards. He's not running for office. Sarah Palin is, and I'd like to know if she thinks abstinence only education worked for her family? And I'd like to know why she is making her daughter get married at her age? Why not see if they can keep up a solid relationship for a time and then get married rather than force it because of a pregnancy? They aren't adults really yet and this isn't the dark ages!

macdaddy said...

Anon 2:02 It's really none of your business. Or don't you have better things to do?

mr. goodsense said...

Sarah Palin's daughter is getting married because that's reality. This isn't Sex & The City. This isn't Grey's Anatomy.

In the real world, you take responsiblity for your actions. At least that's what most conservatives believe.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure anonymous 2:02 would abort the baby--even at five months.

Edwards=Anonymous 2:02

Anonymous said...

How about teaching responsible sex ed in school. This whole abstinence-only education is a bunch of hooey.

The kids do not learn anything and end up having sex unprotected.

Would not be surprised if she had some type of STD.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anon 258, we all think babies should be aborted. And if you really believe that, you're an idiot. You don't have to get married to be responsible. They made a mistake. Let them have the time to determine if marriage is the best thing for them and their child rather than seeing a divorce in a couple years time.

Anonymous said...

Anons 3:11 and 3:57--the best thing for you to do is reread the 2:52 post. That really summarizes the issue.

Since you like to abort five-month old babies, you'll probably have better company over at NNN. Go hang there.

Most people in the country are reasonable--although there are obviously some exceptions to this, such as people like yourself.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:57--somehow, I'm not inclined to take a whole lot of parenting advice from a troll like you.

What do you do in your spare time--peak inside bedroom windows? You seem to have a big interest in the Palin children's lives. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I thought only Republicans liked to peak inside everyone's bedrooms and tell them who can be with whom.

pipsisewah said...

The way I look at it, if you never had premarital sex, or thought about prmarital sex, (The Good Book says that sinful thinking is the same as doing the deed), you can judge this Palin girl. But then you'd be judging, and that's a sin!!

To mini, Scooter has never preached from his high horse. He doesn't claim to have a lock on morality. I know this will come as a shock to you, but GOP does not stand for "God's Own Party". Go pick up the stone you cast, I doubt if you are qualified to throw it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:11--do you speak from experience in that regard--STD?

Anonymous said...

Anoyn 4:18 - Do you believe in IVF?

You talk about being pro-life. You say, I want to kill 5-month old babies. Never, did I say that. NEVER. Stop placing words in my mouth and answer my question.

Do you believe in ESCR?

lnk said...

Can any of the Esch trolls here confirm Joe Jordan's report this evening that Jim isn't going to start TV ads until October?

Sounds like Denver must have been a bust dollar-wise.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:39--look, if you have an STD (earlier post) then please keep it to yourself. We could care less.

Interesting all of these attacks on Palin. Let's see: Democratic trolls attacking Palin--guess they are scared of something.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm, I'm not a Democrat you jackass.

I'm a life-long PRO-LIFE REPUBLICAN who is not VOTING for John McCain. This is not my first presidential election either. I have voted in everyone since Reagan in 1984.

I don't vote only on pro-life issues. I look at the candidates as a whole on every single issue.

Ummmm, let me see here...What has the Republican party done in the last 10 years on pro-life issues, besides ban partial birth abortion which I agree with. NOTHING. THEY WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING, BECAUSE IT IS A WEDGE ISSUE TO HELP THEM BRING PEOPLE BACK TO THE PARTY.

Look, if the R's wanted to attempt to ban abortion, they certainly could try with a lawsuit in the South and then get it to the Supreme Court and see a possibly 5-4 decision to overturn RvW. However, they have not even tried to do anything on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Kind of ironic they would give 41 such a video tribute. The strong Conservative base did not like President Bush and left him when he needed them most.

Oh yeah, "READ MY LIPS...NO NEW TAXES." and he was sunk. Now they talk so glowingly.

He was a pariah for strong Conservatives in the Republican party and they went to Ross Perot.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:21,

You may be prolife and you may think you are a Republican. However, refusing to vote for McCain because of whatever it is that you think the GOP should have done for you lately means that, at best, you are a Rino. Biden is as responsible for any of your grievances as McCain is.

Please do us all a favor. Go to the election commissioner's office tomorrow morning and change your Party Affiliation to Democrat. Unless you are afraid of some long dead family member coming back to get you, the hardworking people of the Republican Party DON'T NEED YOU!

FYI, be sure to give the correct home address when you reregister, it seems to be a problem for people this year!

Anonymous said...

Hey....look at all the old white people living in the past in St.Paul. I'm sorry, I take that back. I saw one tocken black man who looked really uncomfortable.

Your party's dying. Accept it.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you about why I'm pissed off at the Republican party:

1.) No Fiscal Responsibility.
2.) Unfunded mandates.
3.) Gimmicky economic policies.
4.) Lied about the cost of the Medicare Part D. It cost twice as much as they projected.
5.) Failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would mean something.
6.) Economic positions have favored big business and not the free market.
7.) Bush expanded the size of government with the help of the Republican led Congress.
8.) Allowed Republicans in Congress to fatten lobbyists and stuff budgets full of earmarks.

McCain, himself said he doesn’t know much about economics and economic policy is one reason I’d vote for a Republican.

It's too bad you don't understand true Republicanism and Conservative ideals and values.

I would suggest you read the following:

The Conscience of a Conservative.
The Road to Serfdom.
The Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.
Capitalism and Freedom.
What is Conservatism.

Read these books and get back to me. We will have a really good discussion about true blue Conservatism.

You can call me a RINO, but I'm more of a true Conservative than you'll ever be.

You are probably one of those who disliked John McCain before he won the nomination.

This convention is sad. Hardly any excitement. This is hardly the most exciting convention I ever remember. Why did we choose Minnesota, again?

Pipsisewah said...

anon 8:25 is right. The Republicans can never get rid of abortions. The value of a Right to Life endorsement is worth too much in electoral value in the Bible belt. They get it out and talk about it and show it off, then put it back on the shelf til the next election. Between traditional marriage and Right to Life, current Republican candidates have nothing to talk about. If they didn't have these issues to start and end every speech with, members of the Republican party would be forced to think about other issues.

If bills were introduced tomorrow to end all abortions, and the Surpreme Court approved it, the Republican Party would fight like hell to keep it. They would be in danger of losing one of their only two election year talking points. How sad, but true.

Anonymous said...

Lib trolls--keep trying to attack and denigrate Palin--please.

You look petty and stupid--which is one of the few things you do well.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the updates? Has Jordan been partying to much? I hope your not paying him Street Sweeper

Street Sweeper said...

Jordan is working free of charge. He will usually be updating in the afternoon.